Not satisfied with just revealing a printer, HP has also launched a new type of device that combines a computer, projector and scanner into one machine called Sprout. This computer is something that HP pulled from its “experimental” department.
Its most distinct feature is its complete lack of keyboard and mouse. Instead, it opts for a mat that can summon a digital keyboard and also moonlight as a digital canvas with a variety of different applications. The mat itself in 20-point multitouch, which comes with its own stylus, and the display is 10-point multitouch display that pretty much eliminates the need for a keyboard and mouse. Of course, if you still want to use one, those familiar peripherals come bundled.
This strange-looking computer even looks futuristic. The only thing that you could say is conventional is the 23-inch desktop powered by an Intel Core i7 with 1TB of storage, a NVIDIA GeForce GT 745A graphics, and 8GB of RAM. Perched above the display is a DLP projector, LED lamp and 14.6-megapixel camera. This little guy beams down different images onto the mat such as a keyboard or launches Sprout-specific applications (which require a separate SDK). Essentially the mat can also be used as a second screen running full Windows as well. That mat is pretty responsive and communicates well with its attached PC though a few times while working in Word I experienced the occasional hiccup. Also, the stylus precision isn’t nearly as precise as what you’d see in professional digital artist tools from companies like Wacom.
The mat itself magnetically connects to the base and has three capacitive buttons to summon the keyboard, launch the applications window, or turn off the mat’s capacitive touch. If you want to just use the Sprout as a traditional PC, the mat is removable with just a tug.
The coolest little trick this thing can do is let users scan objects and manipulate them in 2d or 3D. The lamp above comes with 4 cameras along with Intel’s RealSense 3D camera, which we caught a glimpse of at CES this year, to make it all happen.
The Sprout is HP’s first hardware push into what its calling its Blended Reality ecosystem, and the company is urging new partners to join but will launch on November 9th with applications from Evernote, Skype, Office, (Adobe is on the way), and will set you back $US1900. This might be something worth keeping an eye on to see how companies will embrace this new platform because right now the software options through the Sprout Workshop apps store is pretty limited. You’ll be able to find Sprout in big box stores like Best Buy or online via HP or Microsoft. We’re still waiting on potential Australian launch info, though.